The House has passed and will send, for immediate consideration, to the Senate, HB999. This is the most problematic environmental bill of the session. It still contains the bad language regarding the wetland permitting exemption for 298 Special Districts from local wetland ordinances statewide. These 87 different districts affect more than 1,000,000 acres of land! In addition, it:
(1) ratifies the no bid 30 year sugar leases in the Everglades Agricultural Area approved by the Governor and Cabinet (which is the subject of a pending legal challenge);
(2) pre-empts local authority to adopt fertilizer control ordinances that protect water quality;
(3) restricts how local governments deal with development proposals by limiting how many times additional information can be requested;
(4) prohibits water management districts from reducing permitted water withdrawals where alternative water uses are available;
(5) limits how DEP can test for polluted water discharges; and
(6) expedites natural gas pipeline permit applications.
These provisions will benefit special interests, but not the public interest. Please call your Senator immediately and ask for a NO vote on HB 999.